PHD #133: Consolations
Summary: Nuclear fallout brings some people closer together.
Date: 09 Jul 2041 AE
Related Logs: Happenstance
Cora Heres Penelope Sofia Trask 
Recovery Room - Deck 10 - Sickbay - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #133
A much more quiet area of Medical, this elongated room is also lined with beds. Each is similarly outfitted with privacy curtains as necessary and even the paint on the walls has been lightened in an attempt to help lift spirits. Chairs are readily available all over the place so that visitors can pull one up to talk to the patients during their recovery. Near the entrance, visiting hours are posted with a very conspicuous 'No Smoking' sign.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

This small section of the sickbay has been hastily turned into a quarantine holding area, plastic sheeting and oxygen filters set up to ensure the inhabitants are cut off from the world. Occasionally medical personnel in blue hazmat suits will come in, bringing food or pills and checking on the patients, but otherwise it's much quieter here than the usual, visitor-friendly recovery areas. Cora has been dozing since Lt. Bia brought the latest round of anti-headache and anti-nausea meds, but she blinks awake now, pale and somewhat drawn, but rapidly alert all the same. She glances down first at the notebook on the edge of the bed beside her, making sure it's still there it seems, and then around the room, checking on her fellow irradiated.

Heres and Stav were about the only ones who /didn't/ end up in permanent quarantine. Which isn't to say the Raptor pilot didn't spend a long night in quarantine. But, since he came through without any wounds and no breaches in his suit, he won early release. And yet, here he is. Still in sickbay. Only, now, he has a hazmat suit. Such fun. He moves past the plastic sheeting, into the area where his erstwhile team mates lay. Upon noticing Cora's conscious state, he gives a bit of a smile. "Hey," he says, coming towards her bed. "How you holding up?"

Cora turns her head as someone in a hazmat suit passes into the area, but it takes until the raptor pilot gets right up to her bed before she can see in the helmet enough to recognize him. "Heres," she greets him with a crook of a smile, "I'm alright. Surprised you came back, I'll be looking to avoid this place for sure when we finally get out."

Heres chuckles, come to visit the irradiated in sickbay. Why the lucky dog would come back to test his luck against the radiation, only the gods know. "Oh, don't get me wrong," he smiles, reaching out to grab a stool and settle on it. "I hate hazmat suits. But, the idea of being cooped up here like you lot are is a whole lot worse. Figured you could use a friendly face." A beat. "One that wasn't going to stick you with anti-rads or pills."

Cora smiles a little wider, chuckling faintly, though her voice is a little bit hoarse. She nods, "Yeah, I was checking you out for syringes, but I figure in that suit I should be able to dodge if I have to." She shifts, pushing herself up to sit a little straighter on arms that tremble very slightly from even that exertion, muscle and tendons standing out where Leonis weight-loss hasn't been made back up yet. "But yeah, those suits are no fun," she agrees, "Nice of you to come. I kind of feel like I should introduce myself or something," she admits with a brief quirk of a smile, "I don't think we really met before this. Kind of late for that, though."

Heres holds up his hands. "No syringes," he grins. "Y'don't want me poking needles in anyone, in any case." He chuckles, however, at the idea of an introduction. "What? You mean the hallway outside the shooting range doesn't count?" It doesn't, really, even so. "Yeah. Little late. Still, Lt. Crispin Heres. Callsign: Tags. My friends call me Cris. Or Tags. But, you might have figured that out by now, I reck." A beat. A grin. "If not, we'll blame it on the rads, eh?" He chuckles now. "There. Introduction enough?"

"You never actually said your name in the hallway," Cora reminds him, wagging a scolding finger, though she doesn't bother to lift it far enough to give the gesture any weight. "There we go," she says when he's made his introduction, lips curving as she nods, "That'll do. Cora's fine for me, or Nikephoros. I don't really care, and there's no callsign to pick from anyway." She shakes her head a little as if to clear it, and asks, "So, that computer stuff we grabbed. Anything look useful? Get any chipsets or boards or anything? I didn't get a chance to look at it really."

"Cora it is, then." Off-duty, anyway. He shakes his head a little at her question. "Chips and boards, sure enough. What they do? I haven't had a chance to see. I'm hoping, though, I'll be able to dig something out of 'em in the next couple of days. I'm not even sure, though, if we can interface with them. They might be too damaged." He's hoping not. But, it's hard to say.

Cora nods, smiling a little as names are decided on, and then focusing in on his 'report' on the stuff they grabbed. "Okay," she nods, "We'll just have to test it and see. Computers aren't my area, but if you could keep me in the loop on how you do with that stuff, I'd appreciate it. Hopefully your didn't kick the thing -too- hard," she says, lips canting in a faint, teasing smile, "But you did cause a bolt of electricity to knock a cylon out cold, so who knows."

Heres gives a wry smile. "Frankly, I'm more concerned about the electrical discharge than the impact. Neither's good for the stuff, but the power surge is worse." Still, he shrugs. "But, if I get anything, I'll be sure to let you know." It's almost a given, really, since she's fleet INT. He snerks some, now. "Didn't expect the thing to crumble like old pastry. Thought the toasters built things better than that."

"Hmm, true," Cora nods, though it's a slight motion, as if moving her head too much isn't something she wants to do. "But yeah, guess we'll just see what we can get. Same with the samples and the body and the prisoner. Could get us some important stuff, could get us nothing. No idea." She lifts a hand to rake over her hair, and then smirks a little and nods, "Yeah, you'd think they'd be in better repair. Though they must've been abandoning the place altogether. Only drones and that one woman left there, power off."

Heres nods to that, his a little more obvious — though mitigated by the rubber suit. "To a degree," he comments, "I'm a little surprised they didn't nuke the place. Set the self-destruct sooner. Kinda makes me wonder if there's anything there or not. If it was a truly sensitive facility, they'd have been smarter to wipe it clean before we got there." Unless, of course, the intent was to sterilize the humans one team at time. Seems wasteful.

"Maybe they didn't want us to know it was there at all, thought they could get rid of it this way without us picking up a trace of it," Cora muses, "Or… they wanted us to find it. Or it wasn't supposed to be destroyed at all but that eleven we've got prisoner did it herself," she rattles off ideas just loudly enough to be heard inside the suit, but not so much they'll carry far, "I think at the end there… remember she was saying "the knowledge has to die here, it has to die with me"? That could've meant she was destroying it herself, keeping it from the other cylons. Or just as easily not," she shrugs, after a pause.

"I guess any of that's possible," Heres concedes. Perhaps that's why he's a stickjock and not an intelligence specialist. He's a little out of the loop, thanks to his own long-term stint in sickbay up until recently. (Maybe that accounts for his presence here: He's used to the place.) "I didn't get most of what she said," he admits. "It sounded almost like she wanted to save us. But, that doesn't make any sense — especially given how she sent the whole place into the soup."

Cora seems to be somewhat lost in her consideration of that question for a moment before looking back to Heres and nodding, "She contradicted herself a lot. I wrote down as much as I could remember as soon as we got out. At first she was saying we had to stay or we'd cause extinction, but then she was talking about the radiation sterilizing us for population control…. It didn't make sense. She did claim she didn't want to see us extinct, but I don't know what to make of it all put together."

Heres gives another shrug and a lopsided grin. "Could be nothing more than toaster bullshit, too. Meant as nothing so much as a delaying tactic so she could take us to Hades with her." He wouldn't put it past 'em, himself. "We were lucky to make it out alive." His expression sobers, however, and he glances to where Coll lays. "Gods willing, it'll stay that way."

"Could be," Cora agrees with a nod, "Definitely could be bullshit. Ten more seconds and she was getting a round through the face before we sprinted out of there." She runs a hand over her hair again, pressing fingers briefly to the back of her head before dropping the hand to her lap. "Lt. Bia says she's stable," she tells him when his gaze heads to Coll and her own follows, "Hopefully the worst has past and she'll be alright."

Heres nods. "Let's hope," he agrees. "I'd hate to see her lost. She's good at what she does." Not to mention it'd be one more picture on the killboards. He'd like to avoid that as much as everyone else. "And, I don't want to have to celebrate her at the wake, too." A beat. "Did you hear about that? Lt. Sophronia taking point on it, but it's got the XO's blessing, anyway: A wake for recently fallen."

"She's got some new sort of ship she's designing," Cora says of Coll, "Raptor/Viper hybrid. Was talking about it in the galley. Sounded like somebody to keep around." She nods when he mentions the wake, "Yeah, I heard somebody mention it. I… should probably go, assuming I'm out of here. Not sure how recently they're saying, but probably includes Leonis." And it would be rude of her not to show up for that.

Heres' ears rise somewhat, hidden by the hazmat suit that envelopes him. "So that's what she's making," he says. "I mean, I knew she wanted the Raptor we retrieved for something, but I've been out of it so long, half the scuttlebutt aboard's lost on me." He looks around now, and barks out a laugh. "This place is a frakkin' second home to me, I think."

Cora nods at the pilot, "Yeah, that's what she said. She and… I've forgotten who had plans all drawn up, it sounded like." When he says he's been out of it, and calls the sickbay home, her brows rise, pale in a pale face. "Oh?" she asks, "What happened to you? If you don't mind my asking," she adds the nicety after a split-second.

Heres gives a casual shrug and a wry smile. "Got my ass handed to me by a frakkin' toaster. You know how it goes." He doesn't seem inclined to go all that deep into his injuries. But, with all the action the Cerberus has seen, he's not the only one with that story. And gods know the Air-Wing's seen its share of casualties all through its ranks. Not unlike anyone else. "But, maybe I'll sniff around a little more about that ship. Sounds interesting. Raptor and a Viper? Wonder how that'd handle."

"Ah. Well, glad to see you recovered fully," Cora offers with a quirk of a smile, not pressing for details. As for the ship, he nods, "It does. No idea how it'd handle, tech's not really my area. But it sounded like a beast." She reaches for a cup of water on the sidetable, arm still just a little too thin, a lingering souvenier of her time on Leonis. "So where were you before Cerberus?" She asks, making curious small talk.

There's a faint sound of rustling cloth and bedsprings creaking as Penelope, eyes now open, turns onto her side to view the source of nearby voices. She says nothing, only watches, face half obscured in the wafer thin pillow and the tangle of her hair.

"Leonis," Heres says with a dry smile. "CFAS Anadyomene. I was with a support squadron there. Got reassigned when the Cerberus was getting to be commissioned and sent out on wargames." It seems ironic to him now, given the recent experiences on Leonis. As Penelope stirs, he twists to get a better view. "Hey," he greets. "Still in the land of the livin', huh?"

"Really?" Those pale brows jump up again, and Cora nods, "Huh. Well, no offense, but I can't say I'm a fan of the place." Her lips twist in a wry half-smile and then she turns too, lifting a hand and wiggling a couple fingers in a wave at Penelope.

Penelope nods vaugely, closing and opening the heavy-lidded eyes of one shaking off the effect of some serious drugs. She makes a raspy, croaking sound… then props herself up on an elbow, takes a sip of water from a cup on the bedside table, and tries again. "Yeah," she manages a human syllable, this time, her smile wan. She wiggles her fingers back at Cora, eyeballing Heres' protective-wear. "We still burying the needle on the radometer?"

Heres gives another brief chuckle to Cora. "Hey, I wouldn't expect you to be. I wouldn't be either, under those circumstances." Truth, there. Still, as Penelope nods, he adjusts his stool so he can look more easily through the face shield at each of them. "'Swhat they tell me," he responds. "But, y'know, shouldn't be that much longer. It's just what medicos like to do: Poke holes in good soldiers."

"If I never see that planet again it will be too soon," Cora shakes her head, giving her elbow (which to be fair was probably a little bony before Leonis, anyways) a very brief glare before turning back to Penelope. "Yeah, they're still finishing running our bloodwork and everything," she explains, "Lt. Bia hopes we'll be out by tomorrow."

"Everybody needs a hobby," Penny observes wryly, folding the wafer-pillow in two so it props up her head at least a little. She pokes at the bundle of gauze taped to the inside of her elbow, site of her latest exsanguination. "Tomorrow. Can't wait." She sounds neither hopeful or happy about it — rather, like it's something to dread.

"Tomorrow'd be good," Heres says encouragingly. "You'll make it to the 'party', then." He's already told Cora about the wake. And he's just glad none of these women will be joining the list. "And, even if you don't, I've heard of a stash we can raid when you're all up and around again."

"Everybody does," Cora agrees with Penelope with a nod. There's a faint twitching together of her brows as the other woman doesn't seem pleased at the idea of leaving, but she gets distracted by Heres, glancing back at the man, brows lifting as she asks, "A stash?"

Penelope doesn't offer any insight into her reservations, resting her eyes for a moment. Heres's mysterious stash, however, garners her curiosity, as well. Her eyes flutter open again, gaze finding the pilot. "Hmm?"

Heres gives a smug smile. "I have my sources," is all he'll say about that. Of course, frat rules say he can't particularly associate casually with the enlisted, but that doesn't mean he can't congratulate them on a job well-done — and survived. "I guess, though, if you guys are gonna be out by tomorrow, I won't have to sacrifice a triad deck to the radiation gods to keep you entertained, huh?"

Cora smiles faintly at Heres' reticence and nods, "I guess we'll find out tomorrow." The hazmat-suited raptor pilot sits on a stool near Cora's bed, facing the two lieutenants as they talk. Cora's propped mostly upright, with a glass of water in one hand, pale and wan but appearing otherwise unhurt. She shakes her head a little, saying, "I don't know, depends how tomorrow goes. Nobody seems willing to sacrifice copies of the reports I should be reading to the radiation gods, so your deck might have to make an appearance."

Penelope, on her own bed, crooks her arm beneath her head, tucking the pillow in between. That seems to prop her up enough to watch Heres and Cora, though she remains lying on her side. "I promised everyone on the Eidolon I'd build us a still when we got back from Leonis," she muses — though not entirely related to the conversation, there's tie-in enough to satisfy her, personally. Stash = booze = still. "I should get on that."

"You already have a building project on your docket." That would be addressed to Penelope, the source of the statement being a HAZMAT bedecked Bootstrap. "Don't think that I'm gonna let you slack on that either, just because you currently look like some strung-out Caprican model." Steps bring him closer to the snipe, although a tip of his chin is offered to, "Tags." He even includes Cora in the greeting. "Person I can't determine from the back of the head who's speaking with Tags."

Heres twists a little as Bootstrap makes his entrance. Cleared earlier in the day to once more leave this gods-forsaken place, why he's back is a testament to… well, something, no doubt. "Hey, Bootstrap," he says, raising a hand in greeting. He stands up from his stool. "Was just offering up a triad deck to the radiation gods, since they're probably stuck here another night." But, he's not. Smug, much?

Strung-out Caprican model. How lovely. A smirk tugs at the corner of Penelope's mouth and she rolls her eyes. "It's beyond my comprehension why you're still single," she greets the man in return. A hand is extended in his direction, fingers flexing in the air. C'mere.

Cora turns her head as someone new enters their enclosure, the arrival of a hazmat-suited person hard to miss. She's not at the proper angle to see his face, so the combination of his voice and Heres' greeting are required for her to figure it out and then she offers a dry response to that title she's given, saying simply, "Lieutenant Trask." Then she looks over at the pilot nearby and his smug expression, doing her best to look aggrieved, "What, you weren't going to stay and play, just toss us the deck and go?"

A certain snipe, hooked up to oxygen tanks with nasal cannula and looking none to pleased with them begins to stir, hearing people nearby. Her eyelids flicker and Sofia stirs. It's aliiiiiiiiive! She grunts softly and through slightly sleep blurred vision, offers a polite, "Hello." Apparently unaware for a moment then - oh. she blinks. "Sir. Hello, sir." She corrects after a moment, coming to life.

With a bit of a spring in his step, Trask comes on over like a good boy. Without missing a beat, he explains of his single status, "It just seems unfair that any one person have me all to themself." There's a faint undercurrent of self-deprecation that comes from the way he smirks. Kal not a catch? Say it isn't so. "Besides," he adds, "Rosie Palm and I are high school sweethearts." By then, he's next to Penelope. "The one and only," is tossed off to Cora before he cheekily decrees, "That's not acceptable, Heres. I know for a fact that you're not on-duty so soon that you can't spare a game for the illustrious Lieutenant over there." That adjective, naturally, is drily said. "As a matter of morale, I order you to play a hand. Or you can hit the showers and prance around, as I've heard talk that also serves as a morale booster." Sofia then awakes and is summarily greeted with, "Hello, person I don't at all know."

Penelope takes Trask's hand, examining Rosie — glove and all. "I'd fight her for you," she says of Ms. Palm. "But I've found breaking a bloke's fingers makes for lousy courtship technique." She shifts onto her back, rolling her head to look Sofia-ward. "You don't know Sofie? She's our green-eyed goddess of 3M… a bit frakked up at the moment, though." A faint but warm smile is offered to her fellow snipe. "How are you feeling, luv? They must have you on some splendid pain meds."

Heres laughs now. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Never livin' that down…" He reaches into a pouch. "Fortunately, I got one right here." Gloved hands make it awkward to fish out, but he does, nonetheless. One triad deck. "You wanna play, too, Bootstrap? Hands all around?" He grins. "I know, you can hold the hands for those that can't play their own…" Why not? Heres is a lousy triad player, anyway. Not gonna matter to him who wins.

And now her medicated state becomes apparent. Her blinking's a little off. Left. Then right like a second later. Then both. Very slowly. Trask's comments just earn him a blank stare. "… that'd be me. Seemed rude not to say hi since it takes effort to get in here." Her voice is a bit soft and almost sort of raspy. She smiles at Penelope and Trask. Daw. There's a looooooong beat before she answers, nodding slowly. "Like I lost a fight to a truck and then gargled salt rock water. But I shouldn't complain," A look to Coll. She frowns. She's cognizant of that. Even 'fully awake' she's a hair slow and looking faintly green around the edges. "How are you all?" She asks, softly. She coughs and puts a hand over her mouth. "Sorry." Icky.

There is no resistance when his right hand is taken. "That's not Rosie. That's Mary, her sister." It just so happens that Trask is a southpaw. "/This/ is Rosie." Opening his left hand, a small plastic bag filled with jelly beans is displayed. "She's into threesomes, so there's no need to be fighting over me." As for some Triad, "Well, I was plannin' on being Penny's good luck charm 'cuz every winner has tasty eye candy nearby. If you're short, though, I /suppose/ I can sit in." It's not nearly as horrible as his tone would suggest. "And no, I don't." Know Sofia, that is. "Ergo, addressing her as 'some person that I don't know'. Now, however, I do." At the 3M's explanation about how she feels, he replies, "Considerably better than you. Then again, I don't fight trucks or gargle salt water."

Heres looks over to Cora, to decide how to handle the game. The decision gets real easy, however, as the meds take their toll and the woman's breathing makes it pretty obvious she slid off into lala land somewhere between sentences. He chuckles softly and pats her bed lightly with one hand, pocketting the cards. "No joy, S-L," he says to Trask, then, turning to give his squadron leader a grin. "Apparently Nikephoros was so overwhelmed with your presence, she's passed out." He moves, now, to join the other Harrier by the other two beds.

"You should see the truck, though," Penny says, watching doped-up Sofie with both affection and concern. She follows the other woman's gaze to where Coll lies unconscious, assuring gently, "She's going to make it, luv. Don't worry." She smiles, a little life coming back to her demeanor at the sight of the jellybeans. Trask is given a look like he's a complete frakking hero — it's the little things, apparently. "Thank you, Kal."

Sofia chuckles softly at the joke. She's drifting in and out. She smiles at the conversation a bit. "I'm sorry. Penny is way too kind to me than I deserve, and I appreciate it," Sofia is touched and tries to return the kindness as best as she can. The concern and affection aren't lost on her, she's just a hair doped up and not the most socially adept engineer ever. "The full thing is Crewman Sofia Wolfe, from 3M. But Sofie or Wolfe is just fine," she remarks. She is seized by coughing a moment. An annoyed look after. She nods at Trask's reply. "Well, that's good and I don't think taking them up is a good hobby. At least not if you're going to be in pieces enough to keep Penny company." A beam at that. Seeing the two happy really does make her happy in turn. The jelly beans for Penny make her smile a little more too. "Also having something up your nose feels really funny. I thought up your nose with a rubber hose was just a saying." Sigh. "May I watch?" She asks quietly.

"I do believe my plebeian nature has offended her oh so fine sensibilities." Not even the Cylons have managed to stomp out class warfare, which means the Black Country boy has it in for the Caprican blue blood. "You got the license plate, I hope." Trask spares no truck jokes for poor Sofia. "And I don't mind," if she watches, "but Rosie is a bit shy." The innuendo is evident. A sidelong glance at Penelope, with the comment, "Although she thinks you're totally hot and she wants to cop a feel. The jelly beans were her idea." Yes, he's still talking about his hand.

"That must be it," Heres says to the other man. He leaves the triad deck on Cora's side table, in case someone wants to play later. They're just cards. He gives Peneolope and Sofia a smile through his visor. "You two just concentrate on getting well, neh." A glance to Bootstrap. "Think I'll see about that shower," he grins, not at all serious. But, he'll leave the SL with the women. He's had his visiting time. "Catch y'all on the flipside." With that, he makes his way out beyond the plastic sheeting and takes his leave.

"Pish-posh," Penny deflects dopey-Sofie's gratitude gently. Rosie is divested of her jellybeans and given a solemn, gracious nod. "Thank you, Rosie, but I — " She frowns, considering, and slants a look up at Trask. "I really can't have you without having your disturbingly anthropomorphized, lesbian appendages?" She blows out a breath. "How complicated." And the departing pilot gets a smile. "Thank you for coming by, Tags."

Sofia just smiles faintly. Then there's a chuckle, "Yup. The docs read it off my forehead." She winks. "Though these speed holes don't do much," she glances at the bandages. Should get her money back perhaps? She smiles at Heres and waves. "Be well." She offers quietly. Her eyes wide at the Rosie joke. Wait. It takes a moment to hit. Oh dear. She turns red. She grins a little at the continuing joke. She is content to watch the two. "Well, I still appreciate it." So there. She's stubborn. She reaches for her plastic cup of water, sipping. "I am kind of sad when I didn't see you at the CO's Triad game," she admits softly.

"Be sure to drop the soap," Bootstrap blithely calls out to Heres. "I hear they like that." Right back to the gimpy, freckled, curly-haired Aerilonian lass, "In all fairness, it's more like a lesbian trapped in manly appendages. The best of both worlds, really." Brazen, cheeky flirtatiousness, Kal Trask is thy name.

"Me?" Penny tilts her head Sofia, blinking. "Oh, luv, I don't play triad. I'm impossibly bad at it — I'd lose my shirt." There's loud crinkling as she attempts to open the jellybeans one-handed — and more loud crinkling. Along with come sotto voce cursing. Neither method of making noise avails her much. She sighs and looks plaintively at Trask. "I don't suppose the girls would be willing to help me get the jellybeans open?"

A giggle at the soap comment. Real mature the peanut gallery. She smiles at the two. Sofia seems glad they're getting on and chatting. "Well… I guess someone might be happy about that," she comments softly. "I ended up losing badly, but it was fun." She liked playing against the CO and company it seems. She tilts her head and smiles continuing to quietly settle. She has a peaceful, pain killer induced bleary stare.

"Willing isn't the determining factor," the ECO notes, holding up both of his hands, which are encased in HAZMAT gloves. "Just use your teeth." Hey, it's a practical solution. "Yanno… and make is sexy." Doubly practical.

Oh, right. The gloves. Penny has the bag in her teeth even as Trask is making his follow-up suggestion — and nearly spits it back out again, laughing. The man is given an exasperated — deeply amused, exceptionally warm — glare as the bag is opened. Not nearly as sexy, perhaps… but certainly sweet. "You're impossible," Penny states the obvious, trying not to smile quite so much. The candies are offered around, first to Sofia, then Trask. "I'm glad you had fun," she says to Sofia, smiling affectionately. "Perhaps I'll come next time. If there is one."

Sofia yawns, and smiles. She's deeply amused by the two, chuckling. Aw. She looks touched. "I will only take one, my stomach is angry with me. I guess I took too much Vitamin Lead," she notes wryly, almost sadly. "It killed my shot at winning Miss Cerberus," she winks. But she's wearing down. After a jellybean, she starts to drift into somewhere. She smiles warmly back at Penny. "That'd be cool." She likes the idea. "I even got hands with double digit points." She's pleased. "Have fun you two." She is losing energy to stay awake. "Would be kinda cool if I got superpowers out of this or something." Yeah. That's it. She's obviously not above self-depreciating humor, but the 3Mer is dozing fast. 0 to nap in 30 seconds.

"Ehhh… I give it a 7.3," presumably out of a ten-point scale. With utter aplomb, Trask simply smiles, practically basking in the warm glare as though it were a pleasant summer's day. Idly, he taps on his HAZMAT helmet when offered jelly beans. Odds are he wouldn't partake even if removing the gear wouldn't contaminate him with radioactivity. As Sofia drifts off, he tells her, "Rest well. Don't dream of trucks."

"Sleep well, Sofie," Penny says to Snoozy Snipe. She's still holding the beans out to Trask, obliviously, until he taps his helmet — at which point she blinks, completely startled, and laughs. "Oh." She nods. "Good point." She takes one of the candies for herself — a deep plum colored bean, probably grape — and pops it into her mouth before setting the precious bag carefully aside. She watches Sofia resting a moment longer, obviously fond of the girl, her expression turning to one of deep concern and sorrow now that only Trask stands witness. "Gods, I hope she'll be alright," she whispers, taking Trask's hand. "All of them. I hope they'll all be alright."

Hand taken, the man's own expression grows more somber. "It's entirely relative, at this point." Gently, his thumb rubs the back of Penelope's hand. Perhaps somewhat uncharacteristically, he is quiet for quite a while, pensive. Eventually, Bootstrap battles the brooding by commenting, "That looks like a bruise." Oh, that shade of purple Penny popped in her mouth.

Penelope snorts, smiling without mirth. "No…" She lifts her hospital gown enough to display the grapefruit-sized marks on her abdomen — inky black, blue and purple at the edges. "THAT looks like a bruise." She contemplates the mottled skin, tracing the tender edges with careful fingers. "I'm a mass of bruises, I hurt in places I didn't even know I had… and I'm so lucky." She breathes deeply, looking over at Coll's unconscious form. "We almost lost Lauren. And… the radiation…" She reaches up and touches her hair — an odd, absent gesture. "Well. We still don't know about that. Some of us… have symptoms."

Trask actually regards the indicated bruises, eyes narrowing as he assesses their severity. It doesn't rest well with him, for he's seen the like — and even worse — more times than anyone should. Too many things within the past few months have been too reminiscent of his childhood, and it makes him edgy. So, naturally, he has to counter all that by pointedly looking further downward and commenting, "I always envisioned you wearing nicer knickers."

Penelope rolls her eyes, covering up again with a sigh. "Yeah. Well." She's got nothin', folks. There are probably half a dozen quips she could lob back, but just then… just then, they feel hollow and insipid. So she leaves them be. "Kal…" she begins, hesitantly. She's obviously struggling with something, the pause itself a fragile thing. "I know this… I mean, with Quinn, and everything, it's not the most popular — if you make light of this, I swear I'll kill you…" She takes a breath. Swallows. "Have you ever thought — someday, if we live through this… would you want to have children?"

He doesn't make light of it. He doesn't shed much light, either. "Nope," is the simple, unhesitant reply. Although whether that means the man's never thought about it or that he doesn't want any isn't readily evident. "Dare I ask why you ask?"

"I wanted to," Penny whispers, her bandaged hand resting low on her belly. "I really did. Someday. I thought — " She swallows again, audibly, her good hand clenching and unclenching in the sheets. She stares fixedly at the foot of the bed. "I thought… they took my family away from me. And… and one of the only things that got me through that, one of the only things I could find… any comfort in… was that one day, I'd have a family of my own." Her jaw flexes, teeth gritting against tears. It's an unsuccessful endeavor, ultimately — she blinks, and they slide down her cheeks. Quietly and without fanfare. "And now they've taken that from me, too."

This is a thoroughly uncomfortable conversation for Kal, but he shoulders it and shoves aside his feelings to tend to Penelope. It's instinctive, having always sought to comfort his mother and sister after countless agonies. For all his faults, he always rises to the occasion when he absolutely must. "There's really nothing I can say that'll make you feel any better," is ruefully murmured, one gloved hand moving to lightly wipe away some tears. "Infantile as I may be, I'm aware it's not the same." A corner of his mouth quirks, realizing that was a dumb thing to say. "You still have jelly beans… admittedly, the cheap-ass crap from the cubit store… and I'm really not helping." He is, however, trying.

Penelope folds her arms over her middle, drawing her knees up. "It helps that you're trying," she says softly, kindly, pushing a sliver of a smile past the edge of her despair. It wavers and dies quickly — but she, too, is trying. "It helps that you care."

"If it's any consolation, I shoot blanks." This does not appear to at all bother him. "And of course I care. You're my shiny penny, even if you are totally welching on your end of the jelly bean exchange." Leave it to Trask to make light of a situation.

"No, actually… it's really not," Penny shakes her head, patting Trask's arm. Thanks for playing. She doesn't even give him a look for the welching quip. It's just not in her, at the moment. "It was so much easier, when they were machines…" She shakes her head. "There's something infinitely more disturbing about the fact that they feel… that they hate us." She curls her legs up a little closer, hugging her arms to herself once more. "Such a subtle, malicious violence. Gods, Kal… they attacked our genes. The very building blocks of what makes us human. It's so much more frakking… personal than a bullet. I feel… violated. Like I've been raped."

Wait… what? That would be his expression. "Genes? Wha— What?" Clearly, Kal did not get that memo. "Is this… is this about all that frakked-up tower shit?" He wasn't there, but he heard the gruesome details of the chop-shop in Kythera. To the rest, though, he adds somewhat caustically, "What do you expect? Jagoffs made them. It's only natural that they'd embody the worst aspects of people."

"There was radiation on the base. A lot of radiation," Penny begins, tonelessly. "But it wasn't just radiation and it wasn't an accident. It wasn't normal." She passes a hand over her face, taking a deep breath. "The skinjob… the one that was still alive… she told us it had a purpose. Maybe… maybe they were developing it, perfecting it there. And it got out of control, killed them, too. I don't know. But it's a weapon. A non-lethal weapon." She laughs bitterly. "I guess some of them want an end to the war. That's what she called it — 'Peace in our time.' It — the skinjob and others like it, I guess… there's a faction that thinks if they render us incapable of breeding — sterilize us — then we'll no longer be a threat. Then the other cylons will leave us alone, and everyone can stop fighting." She laughs again, a decidedly unhealthy sound. "Isn't that great? I mean, what a humanitarian this thing is — letting those of us left die at a ripe old age, but still ensuring the extinction of our frakking species… it's genius." She shakes her head, "But it went wrong. The bitch miscalculated and killed its sisters. Unfortunately, that means the damage probably doesn't stop at sterilization for us, either. Some of us are sick." A beat. "Some of us are very sick. We won't know who, or how much, until they're done testing."

Well, that was decidedly more than he anticipated (or wanted) to know. For a heavy moment, Trask remains quiet, weighing his words. Ultimately, he concludes that anything honest that he could say would only cause upset, so he opts for the most upbeat bit of honesty. "Even if you lose all your hair, can't have babies, and spend the rest of your days puking up your innards, I won't cease to be a pain in your ass." Sadly, that is the best he can offer as far as truthful statements go.

Penelope is silent for a few moments, finally nodding her bleak acceptance of Trask's pledge. "Thank you, Kal," she replies, tonelessly. "That was almost really lovely."

"Sorry. I'm too much of a jerk to lie, and I'm pretty sure you wouldn't appreciate anything else that I could've said." The man actually sounds somewhat contrite.

Penelope gives Trask a sidelong look, considering. "Try me."

Ask and ye shall receive, for this is Bootstrap. "I'm sorry that you lost your family; they obviously were very dear to you. And I'm sorry your womb's been turned into a wasteland, seeing how you really wanted to have children." He leans over, speaking in a low tone, so as to keep the conversation as private as possible. "I'm also of the opinion that most people are assholes. So much so that I'm not convinced the end of humanity is such a bad thing. People have done all kinds of hideous things to other people. We've had no shortage of war, violence, and hatred. Machines come along and streamline the process, and everyone's in a big stink."

"I miss the Blue Mountains, yeah," Kal continues, "but, overall, I really don't give a frak that the Colonies were annihilated. I'm a lifer. Hardly ever left whatever ship I called home, so it's not like I feel as though I've lost something. That all said, though, I'm not ready to call it quits, and I sure as frak am not going to let anyone — or anything — dictate my life. That's something I can't overlook. Don't expect me to shed tears for people I never knew and who likely were wastes of space anyway. The people I care about, though? They've been hurt. Some even killed. I won't let it slide." There's a harshness there as true as can be expected of a Taurian who will avenge his dear ones and seek blood for blood.

Penelope is silent, listening to Trask's monologue with an intent and open expression, grave and somehow lovely. When he's finished, she's silent still, brows furrowed faintly, weighing his speech. Finally, she says, "On the contrary — I appreciate everything you just said." A beat. "I'm glad you're too much of a jerk to lie, but when it comes to the truth — to your truths — I'd rather have all of you." Apparently, the lady can take it. "Also, if I weren't potentially more radioactive than polonium, right now, I'd be kissing you."

"Where, exactly?" he inquires about being kissed, "'cuz, depending on the answer, I might be willing to take the risk." And just like that, Trask reverts to his scampish ways.

Penelope looks blankly at Trask for a moment, then sighs. "You have a special talent for making me regret my words," she says drily, a dimple indicating that there is some measure of humor there… alongside a certain regret.

The man /does/ have a knack for inspiring ambivalence in others. "I have many special talents," he relays with an impish gleam in his eyes and a smile well-suited for a naughty, little boy. "Some of which I actually need to go employ elsewhere. I'll be sure to come by and bother you tomorrow, though." He did, after all, make a pledge.

Penelope offers Trask a tried smile, kissing the tips of her fingers and placing them against his helmet. "Goodnight, Kal," she says softly. "Thank you for the jellybeans… and the honesty."

"Your aim's off." This quip cannot be at all surprising. Even so, Trask leans over to gently cup Penelope's face in his gloved hands, and then lightly rests his helmeted head against the woman's hairline. "You can thank me later 'cuz you /totally/ owe me, but you can start by getting better as soon as possible." Drawing back and letting her go, he adds, "I still need that cabinet, yo." Fondly, he smiles.

Penelope curls down into her pillow, tugging the covers around her and swallowing a yawn. "I'll get right on that…" she mumbles sleepily.

"You better." With that, he turns to depart.

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